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Al-Qaeda’s second highest leader Was Killed in Iran: New York Times

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(Last Updated On: November 14, 2020)

The New York Times quoting intelligence officials said, that Abu Muhammad al-Masri, al Qaeda’s second-highest leader, accused of being one of the masterminds of the deadly 1998 attacks on American embassies in Africa, was killed in Iran three months ago.

The report says that Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who went by the nom de guerre Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was gunned down on the streets of Tehran by two assassins on a motorcycle on Aug. 7, the anniversary of the embassy attacks.

Al-Masri was killed along with his daughter, Miriam, the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden, the report says.

The attack was carried out by Israeli operatives at the behest of the United States, according to four of the officials. It is unclear what role if any was played by the United States, which had been tracking the movements of Mr. al-Masri and other Qaeda operatives in Iran for years, the report says.

Al-Masri, who was about 58, was one of Al Qaeda’s founding leaders and was thought to be first in line to lead the organization after its current leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, according to NY Times.

US authorities had offered a $10-million reward for any information leading to his capture.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry “strongly” denied the report and said there were no Al-Qaeda “terrorists” on Iranian soil.

“From time to time, Washington and Tel Aviv try to tie Iran to such groups by lying and leaking false information to the media in order to avoid responsibility for the criminal activities of this group and other terrorist groups in the region,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.

The report of al-Masri’s killing comes weeks after the killing of two other senior al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan by local security forces.

In October, Afghan security forces killed Abu Muhsin al-Masri, another person on the FBI’s terrorist list, while the Afghan government this month announced that it had killed yet another senior al Qaeda commander.

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US ready to lift many sanctions but Iran says it wants more

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(Last Updated On: May 8, 2021)

The United States has expressed its readiness to lift many of its sanctions on Iran at the Vienna nuclear talks but Tehran is demanding more, top Iranian negotiator Abbas Araqchi told state media on Friday.

“The information transferred to us from the U.S. side is that they are also serious on returning to the nuclear deal and they have so far declared their readiness to lift a great part of their sanctions,” Araqchi told state TV.

“But this is not adequate from our point of view and therefore the discussions will continue until we get to all our demands,” Araqchi said as indirect talks were scheduled to resume on Friday in the Austrian capital.

In Washington, U.S. President Joe Biden said he believed Iran was seriously engaging in the talks but it was unclear what Tehran was actually prepared to do for both sides to resume compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Asked at the White House if he thought Tehran was serious about talks, Biden replied: “Yes, but how serious, and what they are prepared to do is a different story. But we’re still talking.”

U.S. officials have returned to Vienna for a fourth round of indirect talks with Iran on how to resume compliance with the deal, which former President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018, prompting Iran to begin violating its terms about a year later.

The crux of the agreement was that Iran committed to rein in its nuclear program to make it harder to obtain the fissile material for a nuclear weapon in return for relief from U.S., EU and U.N. sanctions.

Tehran denies having nuclear weapons ambitions.

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30 killed in three back-to-back explosions at Kabul school

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(Last Updated On: May 8, 2021)

Three consecutive explosions targeted students at a public school in PD13, in Dasht-e-Barchi, in Kabul city on Saturday evening killing at least 30 people.

According to the sources, an explosive-loaded vehicle detonated in front of the Sayeed-ul-Shuhada High School at around 4:30 pm. This explosion was followed by two suicide bombings while frantic students were running from the school compound immediately after the first explosion.

The Interior Ministry stated that at least 30 people – including students – were killed and 52 others wounded in the explosions.

Sources, meanwhile, stated that as many as 40 people have been killed and around 100 others injured in the incident.

So far no group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Taliban issued a statement soon after the explosion and denied any involvement in the attack.

The group said: “We condemn blasts in the Dasht-e-Barchi area of Kabul that were carried out against civilians; unfortunately, the blasts left too many casualties.”

The Taliban blamed the terrorist group Daesh (IS-K) for the attack.

Meanwhile, the attack has been widely condemned by the Afghan leaders and the international community.

The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has expressed “its deep revulsion at today’s blasts in Dasht-i-Barchi Kabul. An atrocity. Many civilians were killed and injured. Our heartfelt condolences are with the victim’s families and we wish a speedy recovery to those hurt.”

The European Union in Afghanistan also condemned today’s explosion stating “the horrendous attack in Dasht-i Barchi area in Kabul, is a despicable act of terrorism. Targeting primarily students in a girls’ school makes this an attack on the future of Afghanistan.”

President Ashraf Ghani has condemned the bombing in Kabul, said it was a “barbaric act”. He said the Taliban have shown they are not only reluctant to resolve the current crisis peacefully and fundamentally. He said: “They sabotage peace.”

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13 killed, 35 wounded in Kabul blast

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(Last Updated On: May 8, 2021)

A heavy explosion rattled the Dasht-e-Barchi area in Kabul city on Saturday afternoon, sources said.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) stated that a blast happened close to Sayeed-ul-Shuhada School in PD13 of Kabul city at around 4:27 pm Saturday.

At least 13 people were killed and 35 others wounded in the blast, sources said.

Sources, however, stated that three blasts happened in the area. The cause of the blasts yet to be determined.

Pictures published on social media show that a number of civilians have been killed in the blasts.

Meanwhile, Ariana News correspondent stated people with private vehicles are rushing victims to the hospitals instead of waiting for an ambulance.

According to the sources, most of the victims and wounded people are students.

Immediately no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

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